New book published on Norwich band signed by influential label


The Higsons formed in Norwich in 1980. - Credit: Lee Morris

A book has been published about Norwich band The Higsons who formed in the city in 1980 and went on to be signed by 2 Tone Records.

Author Lee Morris has published 2 Tone Before, During and After which follows the music phenomenon of 2 Tone and includes a specific section on The Higsons.

The Higsons were eventually signed to 2 Tone Records by Jerry Dammers from The Specials who founded the record label.

Lead singer Charlie Higson went on to star in and write the BBC comedy sketch show The Fast Show.

Jerry Dammers formed the label after seeing his own band The Specials achieve seven consecutive top 10 singles and two top 10 albums in less than two years.


The Higsons album front cover. - Credit: Lee Morris

The label also paved the way for other likeminded bands such as The Selecter, The Beat and Madness.

Since the publication of Mr Morris' book, Charlie Higson has tweeted about the book below.

Charlie Higson

Charlie Higson has tweeted about the book. - Credit: Lee Morris

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Talking about the book's publication, author Lee Morris said: "There’s been nothing quite like 2 Tone, before or since, and despite it being over 40 years since its heyday, the label is still popular today, with new generations of fans listening to the music, watching the bands and understanding the politics.

"Fans are well aware of the impact of The Specials, The Selecter, Madness and The Beat and their involvement with 2 Tone.

"However, a good number don’t know that the label was in operation for seven years between 1979 and 1986.

Lee and Terry

Author Lee Morris with Terry Edwards. - Credit: Lee Morris

"By 1982, ska was finished and the funk era was in full flow, 2 Tone followed suit by signing The Apollinaires and The Higsons, who both released non-charting singles.

"After The Specials had broken up in 1981, Jerry Dammers carried on and formed The Special AKA, who would appear every now and then to release a single before disappearing again.

"2 Tone had a brief resurgence when The Special AKA released Nelson Mandela in 1984 but they later disbanded."

Lee and Simon

Mr Morris with Simon Charterton. - Credit: Lee Morris

As well as detailing the popular bands such as The Specials, Madness and The Beat, Morris has given a full account of The Swinging Cats, The Apollinaires, The Higsons, The Friday Club and JB’s Allstars which has been missing from previous 2 Tone publications.

Mr Morris added: "No stone is left unturned in the quest to tell the story of each band before, during and after 2 Tone."